Of course you can find besides all the food and handicrafts also lots of little gifts and decorations for Christmas, or in this case St.Lucia. I will write more about St.Lucia in my 'local custom tips'. Inspired by my trip to Taxinge I thought it would be nice to write a section about the Swedish Christmas traditions.
Every year there is a big Christmas market at Taxinge Slott. I really enjoyed going to this market, there was so much to see and taste of all the different Swedish (Christmas) specialities. Of course the event being held in a castle makes it all the more appealing to go here. The castle and the castle grounds are decorated in a Christmas atmosphere. There are candles along the walkways, little fires to warm your hands, Christmas trees, etc. I think it was really well done.
The entrance fee for the Christmas market was 50 SEK per person, free parking. The event is held at the end of November. It is a bit early start to the Christmas season I thought, but it is a great way to get into the Christmas mood, even this early in time :-)
But Taxinge Slott is not only used for the Christmas market, it is open the rest of the year as well:
May to August: daily 12:00 until 18:00
September: daily 12:00 until 16:00
October to April: Saturdays and Sundays 12:00 until 16:00 (except for Christmas and New Year)
As I mentioned in one of my previous tips, you can buy several types of herbs and spices at the Christmas market. And one thing we found were glögg and snaps spices. Hahaha, so we decided to buy some of that so we could make some home-made glögg and snaps. And I must say that the end result is great! As well as the snaps as the glögg have a lot of taste to them and they were better (I think, lol, but I might be a bit biased) that they tasted better than quite a few ready made ones that you can buy at the store.
Have you ever seen spettekaka before? Well, I haven't, hahaha, so I was fascinated by it. Spettekaka is a traditional Skåne sweet cake. Spettekaka is a meringue-like cake, created by drizzling the batter (dozens of beaten eggs, sugar and a bit of potato flour) slowly over a cone-shaped spit rotating over a slow fire. This forms many lacy layers. It’s not a tiny cake, hahaha, these spettekaka can be really big!
I tried to take a picture of the spettekaka and I thought they would object to it. But nothing was further from the truth. The lady smiled and offered me a bit of spettekaka to taste instead, mmmmm, I have to say it tasted yummie!!! But it also shows the friendliness of the people, something that keeps surprising me everywhere I go in Sweden. Hahaha, I guess this is one of the reasons that I love this country so much :-)
From the north of Sweden all the way down to here to bake fresh Lådda bread. That's 1000 kilometres away! It is amazing that the merchants come from all over the country to sell their products on this Christmas market.
But besides all types of food you can buy all kinds of handicraft and often also see how it is made. Some examples of things that you can see being made are candles, straw figures (like the julbock), ceramics, cloth (special designs), and so many others, just too much to mention.
The atmosphere at the Christmas market is so relaxed! There are lots of things for sale, and a lot of specialities you can taste. I had no clue where to look no more, there was so much! There are specialty breads, salmon, reindeer meat, sausages, honey, herbs and spices, jam, special glögg from the castle, candy, marzipan. Wow, too much to mention! All these products are 'local products' originating from all over Sweden. I found it a great opportunity to see and try some specialities all the way from the North to the South of Sweden.